At Oak Meadow School, the joy of engaged learning continues, even when learning occurs at home. The parent partnership is more important than ever as we continue to evolve with the changes that are necessary during COVID-19, and continue to support learning in a way that reflects our core values about education.
The At Home curriculum continues to include self-care, care for the environment, large-motor activities, fine-motor skills, language, social skills, and developing independence. Teachers hold regular morning meetings with the whole class, as well as lessons for individual students and small groups focusing on appropriate challenges and extensions to encourage more learning. During the online classes, students are genuinely happy to connect with each other, and parents have a new opportunity to be part of their child’s daily learning experience. There are new opportunities for creativity and growth each day.
The At Home curriculum continues to include math, reading, writing, history, geography, science, art, music, and practical life skills. Students have choices in the work they do, encouraging agency and intrinsic motivation. Teachers hold regular morning meetings with the whole class, and provide lessons for individual students and small groups that provide appropriate challenges and extensions to encourage more learning. The one-to-one connection between the teacher and child allows for important self-expression and provides an opportunity to continue to build communication skills. Children are encouraged to be part of a community of care at home: cooking, cleaning, and sharing in family chores. The At Home program supports connectedness and allows us to nurture and follow each child and family. Teachers continue to support parents with office hours each afternoon for parent meetings.
The At Home curriculum continues to include math, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, literature, zoology, botany, anthropology, geography, the physical and life sciences, history, geography, civics, economics, and the “great lessons” that explore the origins of the universe, our planet, and human advancement. Teachers hold daily morning meetings with the class. Through small-group and one-to-one learning sessions, teachers accommodate the individual pace of students. Children continue to have choices around their learning plans, including different ways to complete a learning project. The parent and teacher partnership has been fortified through online learning. Because Oak Meadow has an individualized approach, teachers take each family’s needs into consideration. Our online learning offers appropriate flexibility and creates time each week for one-to-one interactions between the teacher and child. Children continue to develop practical life skills at home through family responsibilities, relationships, connections with nature, and being part of a healthy community.
The At Home program continues to provide a rigorous curriculum in math, science, social studies, literature, and practical life skills, individually tailored to student interests, needs, and abilities. Teachers monitor progress against established benchmarks and expectations for student learning, including academic preparedness, independence, confidence, intrinsic motivation, and social responsibility. Morning meetings are held daily, followed by small-group and one-to-one learning sessions. Because these students are developmentally on an intellectual plane of learning they are given space and time to explore what interests them most. This has resulted in breakthroughs for some students online through long-term projects. The Internet has opened new opportunities to pursue a developing interest in justice, the environment, and the world around them as part of a guided learning plan. Online learning continues to focus on the social-emotional well-being of our students. There is time for socialization and team-building. Students enjoy sharing pets and other meaningful personal items and interests with their peers. They enjoy an open lunch period online to connect with each other. Teachers are continuously accommodating individual needs for online learning and have office hours in the afternoon to meet with students or parents to check-in on progress and answer questions.
In a true testament to their resilience, Oak Meadow middle school students have quickly adapted to new technology and the Oak Meadow At Home program. Students have the same challenging curriculum that they have at school, including writing, literature, mathematics, science (physics, biology, and chemistry), and social studies (history, geography, economics, political science, and culture). Whether they are working at school or at home, students develop confidence in taking intelligent risks, learning from their mistakes, not being discouraged when they don’t get the right answers right away, and developing the capacity to collaborate effectively with their peers. The entire middle school meets each morning online, followed by small-group sessions in specific academic areas, and one-to-one meetings with teachers for individualized learning. Our middle school program also recognizes the unique social-emotional needs of adolescents. Just like at school, teachers work to keep the lessons meaningful and engaging online. The online time together is also social, which helps to ensure the social emotional health of the students.